March 28, 2005 12:00 PM


E! (Weeknights, 7:30 and 9 pm)

Someday an Off-Broadway theater company will dramatize transcripts from the Jackson trial, much as they already camp up Brady Bunch scripts. The story is too awful, too weird, too perverse and yet of too deep a cultural significance to forget.

But E!’s compellingly bizarre daily recap will be hard to top.

The show intersperses brief transcripted trial scenes—acted out in a reproduction of Judge Rodney Melville’s screamingly ugly Santa Maria courtroom—with whoopingly energetic commentary from a team of legal experts who seem to have clerked under Justice Chris Matthews. (One of them, Howard Weitzman, is a former Jackson attorney.) The dramatizations, oddly enough, are more credible. Listless, stiff, dull, shrill, the performers seem to have been recruited from Napoleon Dynamite—but isn’t that how people seem in court? It’s law, not the Thriller tour. At press time, the show’s star, Jackson impersonator Edward Moss, had said only a few lines, but with a dazed gruffness that suggested privileged arrogance or a pathetic lack of awareness. The performance could even evolve into something that captures the Gloved One’s peculiar tragedy.

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